Voters made history in Wisconsin’s April 7 spring election by voting during a global pandemic. They also made history by electing the first black Milwaukee County executive and Milwaukee city attorney, and the first Latina and openly bisexual Milwaukee alderwoman.
In a three-part series, WUWM is bringing conversations from each of the candidates who made history. This is part two: 8th District Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa.
WUWM spoke with Zamarripa shortly after she was sworn in, in a special ceremony in her district on the south side. People sat in their cars in the Mitchell Park domes parking lot to watch her take her oath.
Zamarripa is humbled to be the first Latina and first openly out LGBTQ member of the Milwaukee Common Council.
“I am very appreciative to the people of my 8th aldermanic district on Milwaukee’s near southside who went to great lengths to cast their vote, whether they voted for me or not. I am so appreciative to each and every one of them, and I hope that I can earn everyone's support in the end when they see how hard I work as our next alderwoman,” she says.
Zamarripa says that her win sends a message to young Latinas and members of the LGBTQ community that they too can be elected to public office.
“They too are absolutely a viable candidate to run for office one day and I hope that I'm that inspiration for them," she says.
Latino aldermen have served on Milwaukee’s Common Council prior to Zamarripa's win. Zamarripa honored the Latino representation before her, but she notes the significance of having female representation in the Common Council.
“I certainly don't mean to take anything away from the Latino alders that we have had thus far. But it is very important to highlight the fact that today we swore in the most women ever to serve on the Milwaukee Common Council, the largest city in the great state of Wisconsin. That is important for women and girls to hear," she says.
Zamarripa, who previously served in the state Legislature, now joins a historic Milwaukee Common Council that has a record number of alderwomen. Five of the 15 members are women, the most in Milwaukee’s history.